Chicago Ideas Week 2012. The Rippled Effect.

In a free market society you cannot make yourself rich without making your neighbors rich and enriching the community.” – Robert. F Kennedy Jr, Riverkeeper

Received. A standing ovation.

Already there is more waste water generated and dispersed today than art any other time in the history of our planet: more than none out of six people lack access to safe drinking water, namely 1.1 billion people, and more than two out of six lack adequate sanitation, namely 2.6 billion people (Source: World Water Council website)

In early October, I attended a talk on water during Ideas Week in Chicago, a weeklong opportunity to hear new and innovating ideas happening around the world.  For years now, I have been interested in issues surrounding our most needed resource.  During the panel’s presentation, the audience had a chance to be educated and inspired, all the while taking an honest and realistic look at how water can be the difference between life and death, health and sickness, and rich and poor.

Amongst those who presented, I found filmmaker Shalina Kantayya to be the most riveting in the possibility for one person to make a difference.  She created a sci-fi short film, A Drop of Life, that has not only won awards but been shown in villages throughout Africa, introducing the discussion…who controls water controls life.

What sparks creativity and thoughtful, critical thinking to some of our world’s modern crisis?  Martha Nausbaum, one of today’s most influential philosophers, would say changes in our education system!  She shares her ideas on American education in the book Not for Profit: Why Democracy Needs the Humanities, calling for a return to the humanities, an overhaul that allows for the re-development of knowledgeable and empathetic citizens, rather than continuing to feed – and I might add “water “- our profit-seeking reality.

As the image above shares, everyone deserves an education. Is there profit in this provision?  Take it into consideration as you think about how much you would – and possibly will one day -pay for a cup of clean water?


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